Honey Glazed Turkey Platter

Honey Glazed Turkey Platter

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This was my first foray into cooking a turkey dish. Quite tangibly so, I was unaware of the outcome and had my fingers crossed. While being used to the extremes of a soft seafood bite to hard red mutton, turkey was quite a compromise. Roasting it in my oven was a safe bet, but I did manage to conjure up a recipe which was lip smacking and quite a treat for a chilly winter evening. Read on and enjoy the journey to a gourmet delight !! 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 3 to 4.
  • Preparation time : 2 1/2 hours.
  • Serving size : 2 to 3 chunky roasts are a great treat.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Turkey pieces, 500 grams : Turkey has a thicker and firmer meat than chicken. It stronger flavor and a darker meat. Turkey is rich in proteins, amino acids and minerals like zinc. Not many find connoisseurs in India but can be sought and bought whenever required.
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the Himalayan pink salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon : Butter is the best grease for a grill. While some oils also do the trick but nothing separates the meat from the bones like butter and gives it a perfect browning.
  • Dried Herb Mix, 3 teaspoon (Ground Mustard, Paprika, Pepper Black, Sage, Thyme) : All herbs are a fantastic essence. Dried herbs differ largely from the original harvest by the fact that they are more earthy and the fresh ones are moist and strong.
  • Chopped Garlic, 1 teaspoon : Very few of my dishes skip garlic 1. due to its amazing health benefits & 2. because it provides the right amount of pungency with almost every veggie and meat. All hail the ‘King Pungent’ !
  • Onion chopped, 1 medium : As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Mix all the dried spices well in 1/3rd of the salt. Pound lightly in a mortar and shake to mix well. Do not grind in a mixer. That makes the spices hot and loose their flavor. Classical is the best in this case.
  • Now melt the butter and mix with honey. Warmth of butter will easily dissolve the honey at room temperature. Do not use refrigerated honey.
  • Apply this butter honey mix well on the turkey. Since turkey is best enjoyed with skin so you need to lift the skin lightly and apply the butter honey mix there too.
  • Take the spice mix and sprinkle well on all the turkey pieces. Cover well. Dried spice mix will stick well to the honey butter mix as well.
  • Wrap the turkey in an aluminium foil and place it in a baking plate.
  • Now pre heat the microwave for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Place your tray inside the microwave at a raised level. This allows for a more uniform roasting.
  • Grill the turkey for 2 hours at 400 degrees.
  • Serve hot with your favorite ketchups or chutneys as have been listed in the previous menus.

Storage : No way Jose !!!!

Missing Something ? : Only thing that can be added here would be freshly chopped rosemary if available !!

Pabda Macher Jhol

PABDA MACHER JHOL

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Any fresh water fish eater would know that India is abundant in carp and catfish of various types. The Ganga river and especially it’s delta  region in West Bengal is abundant in both (i.e. carps and the catfish).

Pabda is a small catfish of about 8 to 10 inches long but with an excellent taste and makes great curries. Such curries are the catch and eat versions in bengali villages. Catfish like pabda, aar, singhara etc. are very popular traditionally. With basic spices as in a common man’s kitchen, pabda makes for a wonderful delicacy besides being high in nutritional value. Remember how I shared the recipe of another small catfish delicacy called the Tangra JholTangra Jhol sometime back. Read on and then enjoy the feast !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 1 fish 1 treat.
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes
  • Serving size : I didn’t leave one morcel for anyone.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Pabda fish, cleaned, 2 medium 250 grams approx. : Small sized catfish delicacy which is rich in both fried and curried forms. It is rich in nutrients and makes for a yummy delicacy.
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the sea salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Nigela seeds (kalonji), 1/3rd teaspoon : It’s called kalonji in Indian kitchens and is packed with antibacterials, antioxidants, anti inflammatory. It has a slight bitter, onion like flavor.
  • Turmeric Powder, 1 teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon : Cumin has the classical earthy and nutty essence. Cumin is also extremely popular due to it’s aid to digestion, immune system, respiratory system and being a source of iron.
  • Ginger, 1 inch : Unmistakably earthy, the ginger adds the heat quotient in the dish. The gingerol in ginger is a strong anti nausea and anti inflammatory agent.
  • Coriander, 5 to 6 twigs : Again, this comes straight from my garden. Gives an orangy zest, coriander is again a blood regulator.
  • Sugar, 1 teaspoon : Sugar seems an odd combination to this curry, but believe me this just takes the fishes essence to a whole new level.
  • Green Chilies, 2, slit : Fresh green chilies from my garden add to the fresh heat and mild bitter component while adding benefits of eyes and skin.
  • Red Chili powder, 1 teaspoon : Dried red chilies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Oil, light vegetable or coconut oil would be good.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash the fish and pat dry. Now season it with salt (1/3rd teaspoon), turmeric (1/3rd teaspoon) and chili powder (1/2 teaspoon) and set aside. Salt and turmeric takes away the foul smell of the fish if any. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, grind cumin seeds, 1 green chili and the ginger to a coarse paste.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and fry the fish for two minutes gently turning twice for even texture. During this add 1 teaspoon salt to it. This will make the salt stick to the fish well.
  • Take off the fish from the pan and keep them aside.
  • Heat the pan with some more oil for greasing.  As the oil fumes, add the nigela seeds and fry till they crackle, which would be ideally around 30 seconds.
  • To this now add ginger and the other green chili and move around the pan till they mildly cook in around 3 minutes.
  • Add all other spices and fry them well in the pan for 2 minutes more. Do not leave them raw else you will miss the true essence.
  • Now is the time to prepare the gravy, so add 250 ml water and cook well for around 4 minutes.
  • Add the fried fish to it and cook on high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Now switch the gas off and keep the pan covered for 2 minutes further, then take off
  • Garnish with parsley chopped and serve steaming hot.

Storage : 2 small fishes can not outlast 1 sitting for sure 🙂 .

Missing Something ? : You can add daal vadi in the curry and enjoy with a homemade pesto dip  or a nice sweet homemade cherry tomato ketchup !!

Rui Macher Kalia / Rohu Fish Curry

Rui Macher Kalia / Rohu Fish Curry

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I have often written as to how being in North isn’t the best place to lay hands on the best seafood, however considering the modern logistical wonders and also appreciating the fact that India has one of the largest coastlines of the world with the caches of Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal we can hardly complain about the seafood shortage, in any weather condition i.e. India also has one of the largest coverage of rivers in its plains, so freshwater fish is also never elusive.

The winters however brings a flood of carps, catfish etc. in the river plains which sometimes become hard to distinguish if you are not a subject matter expert 🙂 !

Rohu fish or Rui maach is a very popular fish in Bengal state. I mention it’s bengali name since the dish I offer here is bengali too. It is a common carp that prepares many a sprawling spreads on tables. Rui Macher Kalia is one such dish that I first remember having over a lunch in a delhi restaurant and feeling it’s taste lingering throughout that day thereon. It uses your simple kitchen spices and leaves a bowlful of absolute pleasure. So, read on ! 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 1 fish to delight 3.
  • Preparation time : 30 minutes + 15 minutes to prepare
  • Serving size : Half platefuls would be a great treat, serve it with steamed rice and some Kimchi Salad as I did.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Rohu fish, cleaned, 250 grams approx. : Rohu has better quality meat and higher in Vitamin C than other carps. This is one of the most commonly eaten fish in our country.
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use coarse salt for authentic essence .
  • Potatoes, 2 round cut : With virtually no sodium, no fats and no cholesterols and packed with potassium and Vitamin C  this fibre rich tuber veggie is undoubtedly one of the most famous ones across the globe.
  • Turmeric Powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Cumin seeds, 1/3 teaspoon : Cumin has the classical earthy and nutty essence. Cumin is also extremely popular due to it’s aid to digestion, immune system, respiratory system and being a source of iron.
  • Garlic, 4 cloves : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Green Chilies, 2 slit : Fresh green chilies from my garden add to the fresh heat and mild bitter component while adding benefits of eyes and skin..
  • Ginger, 1 inch : Unmistakably earthy, the ginger adds the heat quotient in the dish. The gingerol in ginger is a strong anti nausea and anti inflammatory agent.
  • Onion, chopped, 1/2 cup :  As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Parsley, 5 to 6 twigs : I grow moss green, long leafed, Italian varieties of parsley till late April. It is mildly bitter but an amazing garnish. It cures bad breath, diabetes and boosts our immunity. One can much the sweeter varieties fresh & raw from a harvest.
  • Bay Leaf, 1 : Also from my garden’s bay leaf plant. Bay leaf is great for joints and skin and are packed with Vitamin A & C and many other minerals like iron, potassium and manganese. They are pungent and bitter in taste. I grow bay leaves in my garden so I can tell you that the fresh ones and dried ones are quite different. Use the dried ones only please. Bay leaves can grow into small trees giving lifetime supply 🙂
  • Sugar, 1/2 teaspoon : Light coarse jaggery can also work.
  • Mustard Oil.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash the fish and pat dry. Now season it with salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and keep aside for 15 minutes at least.
  • Use this time to get your potatoes etc. ready and laid for later use.
  • Grind the onion and ginger garlic paste.
  • Now heat the mustard oil in a non stick pan and allow vapors to come out. The moment it steams, put the gas on medium heat and place the fish pieces in the pan to stir fry mildly without breaking or sticking. Do so for 5 minutes and then take off heat and keep aside.
  • Now heat cumin over a separate pan. Heat till it crackles.
  • Add ginger to it and saute’ for 30 seconds.
  • To this add garlic and onions and saute’ further for 2-3 minutes till they turn golden brown.
  • To this, add tomatoes and stir cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add remaining turmeric, salt, sugar, red chili, green chilies and saute’ further for 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 glass water (about 200 ml.) and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes to it and cook further for 10 minutes or till your fish is well done.
  • Garnish with parsley chopped and serve steaming hot.

Storage : This one can be stored for a couple of days easily, but then you are making just 250 grams ??

Missing Something ? : You can use some cinnamon and black cardamom to enhance the flavors !!

Royal Junglee Maans

Royal Junglee Maans (Rajasthani Junglee Mutton)

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So now that the winter chills our bones in North India, I can safely indulge in my major culinary love i.e. red meat with strong spices and strong flavors 🙂 !! This one recipe comes from a favorite Indian state of Rajasthan. Being largely a desert, Rajasthan’s menu is splurged with strong red chilies and salt. How do you expect the gypsies in the desert state to make a good dish without spices ???? Well you have to feast them to believe them. The combination of a few strong spices dole out such lip smacking dishes that are unbelievable. You can almost call it the mutton piri piri – the gypsy version ! This is so removed from the regular lunch table Mutton Curry Sunshine which I make for the family and shared earlier.

This one is a true gypsy delicacy called Junglee Maans. Cook on and feast on !! Weak palates to avoid please 😀

 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 extremely quite and slurpy guests (they wont open their mouths to speak while they gobble this, I promise 😉 ).
  • Preparation time : 60 minutes to marinate and 45 minutes of cooking.
  • Serving size : You will have to control them after a bowl each.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Mutton (Both goat and lamb would do) 500 grams approx. : Healthiest curry is prepared with mutton. It builds bones and is abundant in calcium.
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the coarse rock salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon or from 1 average sized lemon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Coriander Powder : Coriander provides the garnish to the dish and takes off any unwanted smell. Coriander is also a great digestive and also aids in the digestive and blood system of our body. The sweet coriander is one of the most popular garnish across fat cooked dishes. I pluck the whole plant from my garden since roots give the best flavor in the coriander plant.
  • Dried Red Chilies : This seems to be the staple spice of Rajasthan. Wherever I could see, large patches of land in Jodhpur, Bikaner etc. were all covered with dried red chilies like large red ponds.
  • Red Chili powder : Red chili powder has a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. It is a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Ghee (saturated fats), 2 tablespoon : Unlike popular belief, ghee actually helps in weight loss. It is also a great soluble of most vegetables and strengthens bones doing so. We use ghee here for cooking for its great buttery essence.
  • Mustard oil, 1 tablespoon : This just brings out the bitter pungency beautifully.
  • Garlic, 6 cloves : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Coriander, fresh plucked & chopped 5 to 6 twigs : It’s easy to garnish with a bunchfull freshly harvested from the backyard. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash clean the tender mutton pieces and rub them with salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and 1 tablespoon mustard oil and keep aside for an hour to flavor well. This mix itself will give out a bitter pungent essence.
  • Now heat the ghee in a skillet till it melts.
  • To this add the coriander powder, the chopped garlic and the dried red chilies and fry for a minute. Do remember to keep your exhaust fan on full speed else your whole household will be coughing mad and swearing at you while this is being done  🙂
  • Add the marinated mutton and and salt to the skillet and fry the same for about 5 minutes.
  • To this add 3 cups of water and cook covered on medium to low heat for 45 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander chopped and serve steaming hot.

Storage : A week, if you can manage to keep it without cleaning the bowl off in a single sitting.

Missing Something ? : Let it be. Keep it as simple as original.

Neem Begun

Neem Begun / Neem Eggplant

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I am sharing this one which I cook in guilt only. Reason being, it is a bitter veggie and most would not understand as to why this should be made at all. But bitter can be tasty as well, right ! Think of so many things which make bitter an edible flavor. The story of this vegetable lies in the state of Bengal where I believe every 4th vegetable is an eggplant 🙂 .  Soft, new, near fluorescent leaves of the neem tree are used for this since they are yet edible.

The neem is a must found plant in any home in India that has a garden. It falls under the category of Tulsi, Curry patta etc. in terms of existence, character and virtue. Eggplant or the Brinjal is such a delicious veggie too. I grow at least 4 different types in my garden and enjoy them throughout the year. Remember this snack that is really popular in my house, the Eggplant Chops !

I am guilty of cooking this one since my kid obviously would never eat it 🙂 , but this is a loaded with nutrition dish. Try out, but only with your mature taste buds !!

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 tablespoon per person would be a good serving
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Eggplants / Brinjal / Begun chopped, for this dish I prefer long ones with thin tall slices, 3 brinjals : I  Eggplant or aubergine or brinjal or “begun” as the bengalis would refer to it (this being a bengali dish) is extremely rich in fiber, Vitamin C, potassium and help in liver health, blood cholesterol, heart health and many others. As already stated, I love growing this hardy plant all across the sunny portion of my garden though the white flies trouble me a lot. It is mildly bitter in taste which fades after cooking and the texture is interestingly spongy !
  • Mint sprigs, 1/4th cup or 3 tablespoons when chopped : Mint is chopped well from our garden since they are extremely easy to grow. They are slightly bitter and sour with an umami essence. It is great for digestion and is a great anti oxidant.
  • Neem leaves, broken, fresh 1 tablespoon: The virtues of neem are not a few but a list. It is wonderful for skin, hair, blood, ulcers, stomach, teeth and gums and getting rid of intestinal worms. Though neem is one of the most bitter edibles in the garden yet the new leaves that we harvest here are a bit better with extremely mild sweetness embellished in the otherwise first layer of bitterness. Not for kids though !
  • Red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Red chili powder has a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. It is a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Turmeric powder, 1/3rd teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Salt, to taste, use simple table salt here : Bitter Regular table salt works best here. So regular treated and mineral controlled it is.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash the brinjals well and slice them along the length, as in the picture.
  • Mix the turmeric powder, the red chili powder, the salt and 1 teaspoon mustard oil.
  • Coat the eggplant slices with this mix paste.
  • Now heat a teaspoon of mustard oil in the pan.
  • When it starts evaporating, add the chopped neem leaves and the chopped mint leaves and stir for 30 seconds on medium flame.
  • To this add the sliced and spiced brinjal and stir well so as to mix with the sauteed leaves.
  • Add 4-5 tablespoons of water and cook while stirring for  5 to 8 minutes till your required stage of cooking is reached.
  • Now take off the flame and serve hot garnished with some more chopped mint leaves. There you are !!

Storage : You’ll either love it enough to gobble it immediately or you wont appreciate the bitterness and wouldn’t want to store anyways 🙂 .

Missing Something ? : Some mild ground mustard paste can be used in the marinate.

Cream of Celery in Broccoli Stalks

Cream of Celery in Broccoli Stalks

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Think of a family which loves its daily soup and think of me who loves to grow greens in my garden. There will be some creative combinations indeed. We would not like to throw away stuff in the composter (which we have recently placed in our backyard) as long as there is any chance of using its flavor and richness in our food. You remember how I use the beetroot stalks in Cranberry Pickle and Sweet Beet Stalks Pickle and also Fries . It’s almost winters here and the large elephant eared broccolis will be coming up if all goes well. Look in the pictures how they are a gardener’s delight with beautiful green flower heads. Also, around the same time the celery will also start getting tall and harvest ready.

With the same spirit of using all possible and stirring out kitchen creatives, I bring this cream soup to enjoy. 

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 1 a bowl, let that be the rule
  • Preparation time : 25 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Celery chopped, handfull, about 5 to 6 stalks would be good : I grow celery for around 5 months in a year and they grow well in tubs, bags and small planters. They have one of the healthiest foliage & excellent antioxidant. It gives good bitter pungency to the stock. 
  • Table Butter, 1 tablespoon : The cheesy butter absorbs the basil’s herb flavor very well. Regular table butter is a good source of fats soluble vitamins and saturated fats. They are better in taste and health than margarine. 
  • Onions, diced, 1 : As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Garlic minced, 3 to 4 cloves : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Broccoli stems, 500 grams : Broccoli’s health benefits and earthy flavors are amazing, esp. for kids. I use a rather peculier portion of the plant. The stems. I use the insides of the soft broccoli stems by peeling off the hard outer skin. It tastes like cucumber. you may also use it in salads and many other preparations. 
  • Oregano, 1/2 teaspoon : Bitter and pungent oregano is a great antioxidant and hence should be added to fried food. It also has anti fungal and antibacterial qualities.
  • Bay leaf, 1 : Bay leaf is great for joints and skin and are packed with Vitamin A & C and many other minerals like iron, potassium and manganese. They are pungent and bitter in taste. I grow bay leaves in my garden so I can tell you that the fresh ones and dried ones are quite different. Use the dried ones only please. Bay leaves can grow into small trees giving lifetime supply 🙂
  • Milk / Cream, 1 cup : A cream bowl would be better since the texture of the soup would be more to your liking and would require less thickenning while cooking.
  • Salt, to taste : Regular table salt would do good.
  • Black Pepper Powder, 1/4th teaspoon : Good proportion of salt and pepper are great anti oxidants too.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Take a pressure cooker and heat it on a medium flame with pen lid. Put the butter in it and melt well.
  • Add onions to it and brown them well. To this add chopped celery and garlic minced and stir cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add chopped broccoli stems and stir further for 2 miutes. Now add oregano, bay leaves and stir for a minute.
  • Now add 3 cups water and shut the pressure cooker and cook on low flame for 10 to 12 minutes. Switch the gas off after this.
  • Now open the lid after the steam has relaxed and switch the gas on to medium heat. To this add milk or cream and cook for 10 minutes further. This should reduce the broth to a nice creamy fluid about 40% of how you started earlier.
  • All the while stirring it, add the salt and black pepper to it.
  • Serve steaming now. Do not garnish.

Storage : Nopes, this is a cook and consume recipe. Holding it might sour the cream or thicken the butter.

Missing Something ? : This is an Orginal G-Man, MCMH recipe. This is my creativity, you may try yours 🙂

Quick Kimchi Salad

Quick Kimchi Salad

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My earliest memories about Korea comes from my junior middle times when Daewoo Motors would be all over Indian roads with their Cielo Sedan and a popular dinky car called Matiz. The entire Indian car driving population fell under either of the two. Then the company went bust and sold off. The next storm of Korean products to inhabit Indian consumer markets were from LG and Samsung home device products. These were much cheaper than the superior Japanese products and pretty flashy too.

However, the Korean cuisine has not been able to make much in roads surprisingly though since most of their vegetables and other ingredients grow easily in India. I guess that shows that they only mean business 🙂 . Anyways, I love to grow lots of pak choi in winters and draw out some interesting Garlic Sauce recipe which I shared earlier. Another more popular one, which is one of my favorite evening munch is the Kimchi Salad. As with all other Korean recipes, it has Sesame written all over it. Do go through this one and enjoy preparing a quick and snappy salad with sesame essence !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : Ideally 2 but I don’t give any one a chance 🙂
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Pak Choi / Bok Choy, freshly picked (or packed), 1/2 Kg  : True to it’s green leafy genre, pak choy has good amount of fibre, calcium, iron, protein and carbohydrates. In taste it is quite like cabbage and in looks it rules the sight of your kitchen garden with it’s lovely spouting leaves from the base.
  • Chili Flakes, 1 tablespoon : Dried red chillies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Garlic, chopped finely, 1 teaspoon : The king pungent as I call it, garlic provides the base flavor of this dish. Garlic is highly nutritious. It combats sickness, heals sore throat and regulates blood pressure as well.
  • Radish, 1/3rd cup : Hot Pungent and peppery, the common radish that grows in my buckets in the backyard are great for heart, skin respiration and immunity. They also fight jaundice and cancer, but tooooo much gives me a massive bolt of acidity 😀
  • Carrot, 1/3rd cup, grated : Carrots are high source of iron and anti oxidants and have sweet and earthy flavor. Though I much rather use pickle carrots as in the Gajar Shalgam Gobhi Achaar (Carrot Turnips Cauliflower pickle) but fresh as in salads is also welcome.
  • Ginger, finely chopped, 1/3rd teaspoon : This south asian spice king is a great compliment to garlic. It helps us in getting rid of morning sickness, nausea and muscle pain as well. It’s tea is a widely used generic organic medicine.
  • Onion slices, thin and separated, 2 teaspoon : As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon : It’s a low cal high antioxidant sauce with several good cholesterols. It has a fine salty taste and is widely prevalent in dishes across south east asia and China.
  • Leek, thinly sliced, 1/3rd cup, 2 inches in length : I grow leek in my garden. It grows super easily in any garden and requires minimum taking care. They are milder and more flavored than an onion. It is also very healthy for blood vessels, bones, heart, digestion, vision etc. I am always inclined to use leek for the sweetness instead of red onions and also the leaves of these leeks. 
  • Oyster Sauce, 1 teaspoon : This has high sodium content and is sweet, salty and has a deep savory flavor. Keep it low if children are to be served your salad too.
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon : Gets necessary sweetness to the dish adding fibre and aiding digestion too.
  • Sesame seeds, roasted, 1 teaspoon : Sesame improves blood pressure, burns fats and is a good source of iron. It enhances the nutty flavor in the dip.
  • Water, 3/4th cup : Regular tap water to create mild brine.
  • Rock Salt, to taste : Rock salt gave me more authentic grounded essence than the regular table salt.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Was well and chop the Pak Choi in 1 inch to 1&1/2 inch pieces each.
  • Grate the carrots and radish. You may also grate the onions if you want them sleeker and not too prominent in your bite.
  • Leeks to be thinly chopped as advised in the ingredients section.
  • Take a round bowl about 10 inches in diameter and put your Pak Choi in it. Sprinkle the salt over it and add the 3/4th cup water reserved earlier. Mix all well and keep aside for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, drain off the water, wash off the salt water and pat the Pak Choi dry.
  • To this add the grated veggies and toss well to mix.
  • Now add chili flakes, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds and toss to mix again.
  • Now, in a separate bowl mix the soy and oyster sauce with sugar and mix well till the sauce is one (i.e. its a mixed solution with sugar completely dissolved).
  • Pour this over the Pak Choi bowl and again toss well.
  • I repeatedly mention that you should toss well and not use a spoon or a stirrer to mix so as not to break the leaves and spoil the texture. Tossing is fun too 🙂

Storage : You may use it for another snack or with another meal about 12 hours later, but do you really eat salads refrigerated 😦 .

Missing Something ? : I did not bother it much since the entire thing is so nice and crunchy this way. You may sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil to make the essence more authentic.

Tangra Jhol / Tangra Fish Curry

Tangra Jhol / Tangra Fish Curry

Before we start with this one, let me introduce you all to this wonderful new initiative from my loved one. Do check this out too and follow, there will surely be great posts rolling here ..  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmtCkBgnsCo  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn7n9nuI85fuaZZiblobDOA?  https://www.facebook.com/gunnmaymarwaha/

Now that the monsoons are here in North India, the fish have started to come in rivers. Tengra or Tangra is actually Mystus Tengara. It is a very popular small-sized catfish found in Bengal and other eastern states of India. Tangra jhol is a common man’s curry in Bengal which you cannot miss if you stay in Kolkata or any other part of Bengal for over 7 days. The recipe too includes simple kitchen spices and tamarind to fork in the umami quotient. As always, you can find something unconventional here which speaks of my kitchen’s endeavors to do avoid prototypes and repeats. Do read and enjoy this fabulous treat, party on !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 for the party. 1 fish each with curry to your satisfaction.
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 fish each and no less would satisfy

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Tengra Fish, 2, would be around 350 grams, cleaned well : Despite every time, I would still suggest that the fish be thoroughly cleaned  since there might be mud traces which you should not consume. Tengra or Tangra is mild in taste and aroma like most river fish. So it blends in the spices planned quite well.
  • Tamarind Paste, 1 tablespoon : Tamarind manages body heat well and helps in weight loss and heart regulation. It boosts digestion and immunity. Tamarind brings tanginess in the dish.
  • Nigela seeds, 1/2 teaspoon : It’s called kalonji in Indian kitchens and is packed with antibacterials, antioxidants, anti inflammatory. It has a slight bitter, onion like flavor.
  • Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon : Cumin has the classical earthy and nutty essence. Cumin is also extremely popular due to it’s aid to digestion, immune system, respiratory system and being a source of iron.
  • Dry Mango Powder, Amchoor, 1/2 teaspoon : Amchoor is a sour, fruity spice which is a good antacid and antioxidant. I add it here since the kids would love anything with amchoor in it.
  • Table Salt, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste : Salt hydrates the dish and hence the body and table salt has a balance of sodium and potassium which in turn improves sleep and aids the nervous system.
  • Mustard Oil, 2 tablespoon : This extremely pungent oil is a great source of Omega 3 and Vitamin E hence great for your skin and hair. Besides in kitchen, mustard oil is the most popular oil across the globe for body and hair massages. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Coat the fish in half the salt and tamarind and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • Now heat a skillet with 2 tablespoon mustard oil. Fry the fish on high for 3 minutes and then lower the flame.
  • Now add 2 cups water to it and mix well. Cook on medium for 2 minutes more.
  • Sprinkle the amchoor powder and mix well. Now cook for 5 minutes more or till the curry thickens to your desired level. I wanted to eat it for a sunday morning so I thickened the gravy to a sauce.

Storage : Avoid please.

Missing Something ? : You may add chopped green chilies if you so desire !!

Cheesy Island Floats

Cheesy Island Floats

This one was long overdue. One of the most exciting moments for me was when a couple of years ago, my kiddo decided that he wanted to make some treat by his own for his visiting friends. Believe me, this little treat when offered by him to me was the tastiest morsel that I could ever have had. The magical ingredient ( aka LOVE ) was oozing from this. His creativity went beyond the dish or the recipe, it went as far as naming his dish too. He named it the Cheesy Island Floats since they certainly looked so. Read on, be inspired and enjoy !!!

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : Amongst a bunch of hungry kids, No Limits 🙂
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon : Soft and creamy, mozzarella is a hit with the kids. It is high in calcium hence great for the bones of kids.
  • Sweet corn kernels, 2 tablespoon : Rich with iron, folic acid, vitamin b12 etc. sweet corn kernels are great for women and kids and generally beneficial in diabetes, energy and vision. Monsoons are a great time to make your kids have a lot of kernels in any form. I grow baby corns which start giving cobs just before monsoons and till late falls. 
  • Tomato pulp, 2 tablespoon : Wonderful anti oxidant and full of beta carotene, tomatoes are amazing and tangy and the favorites of kids. These too come from my garden 🙂 , so easy peasy to use.
  • Coriander sprigs, with soft stems, 8 – 10 : Rich with iron, manganese, magnesium and fiber, coriander has a sweet orangey zest. Kids love this garnishing too.
  • Monaco salted biscuits, 6 to 8 : A very popular salty biscuit which is omni present at our place 🙂

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Mash and mix tomato pulp, sweet corn kernels and the cheese. Heat mildly and cook if you want for 2 mins on medium flame.
  • Allow it to cool then spread generously over the single biscuits in a row.
  • Top these with another biscuit to form crispy small sandwiches.
  • Punch the coriander sprigs within the upright biscuit sandwiches to make them appear like small round islands with a groove of trees over it.
  • Do not wait. Serve quickly and enjoy !!

Storage : No way Jose 🙂

Missing Something ? : Change your cheese, add some pepper. This is an Original MCMH Treat 😀  !!

Basil Pesto Sauce / Dip

Basil Pesto Sauce

Pesto is probably the most popular organic dip besides mustard and the good old ketchup. Though we have immensely popular Indian chutney’s of various types of amazing flavors and benefits. Hope you recall the Cherry Tomato Ketchup recipe and the Carom Leaves Chutney that I shared sometime back. While, to many of us pesto would not raise eyebrows or turn heads, believe me, I have known people who have not known what to do with big basil shrubs and have pruned and thrown away a healthy lot of it. Interestingly it is these set of folks who enjoy pesto in my treats loudly and ask me for its recipe. So for those folks and for all to enjoy, here’s how I do this simple yet wholesome sauce !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : This much would last at least 10 fritter treats 🙂
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 tablespoon works well with 1 bowl of fritters

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Basil leaves, 2 cups, fresh would be great : In this I used sweet or Genovese basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Garlic, 3 – 4 cloves : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Walnuts, 1/3rd cup : Walnuts have a good amount of good fats called polyunsaturated fats or PUFA. They have Omega 3 and decent amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamins like E & B loaded in them. In taste they add a distinct earthiness and nutty essence.
  • Cheese cube, 1, 200 grams : With all the calcium and protein benefits, cheese here is added for it’s creamy texture and nutty essence.
  • Olive oil, 1/2 cup : Keep the oil light so as not to interfere with the flavor of your dish either in odor or in taste. Besides, olive oil is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, is good for heart and weight management.
  • Salt, 1 tablespoon : I prefer coarse Himalayan pink salt here since it is extremely healthy. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash well and break the basil. Breaking works better than chopping the basil. Chopping is said to be detrimental to the flavor.
  • Wash and dry the walnuts since they are quite dusty when fresh.
  • Grate the cheese and mix with olive oil loosely.
  • Now add all ingredients in a kitchen grinder and make a paste of it. I would prefer not to add water to loosen it to your requirement, instead ad 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Storage : 1 month refrigeration is a “can do”. You’ll also love doing things with the sauce besides using it as a dip. Remember, when I made the Tricolor Tiffin last month. They rocked 🙂

Missing Something ? : Many iterations are possible in this. You can change the salt to Kosher or even regular table salt. The oil should preferably be virgin olive oil. The cheese can be romano, Reggiano or even simple cheese cubes which can be grated and later pasted. It’s best to use sweet broad basil only. The walnuts can be replaced with pine nuts. Didn’t I mention that there are several iterations 🙂  !!